Saturday, March 12, 2011

Some Pillars of Qi Gong

'The opening lotus'
Picture "The Opening Lotus" kindly provided by Ed-Meister under Creative Commons

A colleague of mind was interested in Qi Gong after I was talking to her about it, she had not heard of it.  She asked me if I could teach her some.  I said, I would try, however I was no master.  I reflected on which form I wanted to teach her, but then I thought behind all these forms there is really some fundamentals that needs to be learnt first.

Most of us try to jump straight into the forms without the fundamentals in place first.  Thats certainly what I did, its different if you have a good teacher who can incorporate both, and one learns over time.  Thats the problem, we all don't have time to learn something new.

I contemplated on during the week, I thought I would raise her awareness on some basic pillars of Qi Gong, the most important ones I thought were:
1. Relaxation
2. Breathing
3. Mindfulness
4. Timing

The Indian's have a saying  "No Tension", the youth in US has another one "Chillax".  Thats exactly what we need to do in Qi Gong or Yoga.

We all get tensed up whether we like it or not, and it is pretty much automatic.  All tension is imprinted on our bodies and our minds.  Relaxation starts with relaxing the hands and the knees, then once you get fluid it works its way to the rest of the body (Master Li told me that).

I made my colleage lie down in Sirvasna (Corpse Pose), and experience what relaxation feels like in her hands and feet.  Then I asked her to raise her hands up and drop them down in a relaxed manner.

Relaxation is also the "Satvic" Gunna, the other two being Rajvic (Creative) and Tamsic (Destructive), these three Gunas create the universe (itself being sourced from the one true primal energy).  Iyengar says we don't not understand the "Satvic" Gunna,  My colleague experienced this straight away, and I told her, this is what one's natural state should be like; alert, relaxed, light.

Next I got her to experience deep abdominal breathing through placing the hands on the front and the back of the belly, and tried to get her to expand her fingers only through her abdomen.  I also got her to experience a slight pause after breathing out, allowing the natural reflex of breathing to kick in for a better next breath.

Next I got her standing, "hugging a tree", knees slightly bet for a few minutes.  She started experiencing a circular sensation between her hands.  One needs to be mindful in Qi Gong, of the sensations in the hands, feet, body, and of breathing, timing and visualization.

Next I showed her to time her breath with her movement, showing her a simple "Energy Wash" through the body.  Starting with the arms on the side, raise and open up scoop energy from the universe, through the hands, and push it down through the Crown through the body pushing out negative Qi out through the souls of the feet.

Timing has to be like clockwork, change of breathing changes (inhale (hold) to exhale) with the change in movement.

Then asked her to bring it all together.  The whole experience was just as helpful for me as it was for her, because I could watch a person trying for the first time, I could detect the breathing, I could detect the relaxation, I could actually see the focus of the mind.  I could also see how valuable Qi Gong really is.  She experienced sensations she never felt before.  Pains, cramps, which disappeared, and clarity of the mind came about as well as awareness of sensations not previously paid attention too.  In todays fast paced lives, everyone too busy to pay attention to their bodies and health.

"Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived." Dalai Lama

It also gave me an experience how hard it is to teach.

Now given all of this instruction the rest is up to the student to apply.  The instruction are useless without daily effort and practice.  The teachers role is simply to show the instructions, the students role is to apply the instruction, and learn what is beyond the instructions, one cannot really teach anyone anything, the student teaches oneself through an intention and persistance to learn, all external instruction stems from this original intent, no one can give you the intent except one self.